Cost of Living - Fuel Poverty
Decision Maker: Director of Public Health
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: No
This report seeks approval for the award of the Contain Outbreak Management Fund to provide additional capacity relating to mitigating fuel poverty for local communities affected by the cost-of-living crisis.
The activities outlined in this report support the vision of the Wirral Plan 2021-2026, to ‘create equity for people and place’ and will contribute directly or indirectly to delivering the five themes of the plan:
· Sustainable Environment
· Brighter Futures
· Inclusive Economy
· Safe and Pleasant Communities
· Active and Healthy Lives
Resolved – That
(1) the Director of Public Health approved the award of £500,000.00 of Contain Outbreak Management Fund to the organisations listed in section 3.7 of this report, to enable local community, voluntary and faith sector organisations to increase support to local communities affected by fuel poverty.
(2) following consultation with the Chief Executive, the decision be excluded from removal of delegation and reconsideration by Policy and Resources Committee.
Reasons for the decision:
The economic backdrop has changed considerably over the past few months with higher oil, gas and commodity prices, fears of rising and persistent inflation. There is significant concern regarding the damaging impacts this will have on local communities through rising living costs. May 2022 data showed Consumer Prices Index (CPI) edging higher to 9.1% while the core CPI rate, which removes energy, fuel and food was 5.9%. While the Retail Price Index (RPI), which measure the change in costs of a representative sample of goods and services, rose to 11.7%. The Bank of England’s latest projection sees inflation climbing to 13%, largely influenced by the continuing rise in energy prices.
This is having a significant detrimental impact on funding and income available for residents and their ability afford their day-to-day bills and essential expenditure. Fuel poverty is the condition by which a household is unable to afford to heat their home to an adequate temperature. The number of households affected by fuel poverty has increased significantly as energy prices rise and is expected to continue to grow. There are increasing reports of residents making choices between heating or eating, being isolated in their homes due to no available money to pay for fuel or electricity and having to prioritise food over other basic but important needs.
The community, voluntary and faith (CVF) sector plays a hugely important role in Wirral, providing a wide range of activities and services to residents that improve health and wellbeing and contribute to the local economy. The sector has been critical to the response to the pandemic throughout and will continue to have a pivotal role in supporting community through this emerging cost-of-living crisis. Organisations based within the heart of local communities are well trusted and respected by residents who may not want to access help elsewhere.
Alternative options considered:
Publication date: 22/12/2022
Date of decision: 21/12/2022